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Williams brothers to merge Trade Oil, WilcoHess

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Two brothers in convenience retailing are coming together as marketers/retailers Trade Oil Co. and WilcoHess make plans to merge their operations. Greenville, N.C.-based Trade Oil Co. is run by president Walter Williams, while the larger WilcoHess, Winston-Salem, N.C., is run by his brother, Arthur T. Williams, who owns the company in a partnership with Amerada Hess Corp.

While pending final approval by both parties, the combined company will sell gasoline and diesel fuel under the Hess brand at more than 275 c-stores and 27 travel [image-nocss] plazas in seven states. The more than 100 Trade Oil-owned Trade Mart c-stores in eastern North Carolina will operate under the Trade with Wilco to Go name following completion of the merger.

The resulting company also will run 40 restaurants. Walter Williams, David Williams and Edwin Clark, the principals of Trade Oil, will remain active in WilcoHess LLC.

Walter Williams established Trade Oil in 1984. The company and its founder have become well known for their support of East Carolina University, becoming the school's first $1 million donor, according to a report in The Daily Reflector.

Arthur T. Williams entered the fuel business in the early 1960s after working for his father-in-law's oil company for six years. In the 1990s, A.T. Williams Oil began expanding into Virginia, Georgia and Pennsylvania. More recently, WilcoHess began franchising operations with Wendy's, Dairy Queen, Bojangles, Taco Bell and Subway.

It was in early 2001 that A.T. Williams Oil Co. partnered with Amerada Hess Corp. to form WilcoHess LLC. The company operates retail locations in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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